The Miami Heat formally announced the signings of veteran Kevin Love and veteran center Cody Zeller.
Love became available on the NBA buyout market after he was waived Saturday by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He then canceled the waivers on Monday. With Love owing $28.9 million this season, neither team had the salary cap to file a waiver claim, making him a free agent.
Zeller is returning to the NBA after sitting out the season to this point after recovering from a leg injury sustained last season while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Love, who was assigned number 42, signed with the remaining $3.1 million the Heat had from their biennial exception. The deal means the Heat can’t put their biannual exception on the line in 2023 NBA free agency. Love wore number 42 at UCLA and with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Zeller, who will wear number 44, reached an agreement for a proportionate share of the NBA veterans’ minimum.
Both Love and Zeller will become free agents on July 1.
The Heat gained roster space and space under the NBA’s punitive luxury tax to add Love and Zeller by trading veteran center Dewayne Dedmon to the San Antonio Spurs ahead of the February 9 NBA trade deadline.
To add Love and Zeller, the Heat allowed undrafted rookie point guard Jamaree Bouyea’s 10-day contract to expire. Bouyea, who played with the Heat’s G League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, is now up for grabs with any team in the NBA.
With the additions of Love and Zeller, the Heat for the first time this season are carrying the maximum 15 NBA players under standard contracts, including Love, Zeller, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, Tyler Herro, Haywood Highsmith, Nikola Jovic , Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Victor Oladipo, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Omer Yurtseven.
Because of their former position within $200,000 of the tax line prior to the Dedmon trade, the Heat were going one player short of the league cap.
The Heat also have undrafted rookie center Orlando Robinson and undrafted rookie forward Jamal Cain under two-way contracts. Players under a two-way contract are not eligible for playoff rosters, which are limited to 15 players under a standard contract.
With players on two-way contracts limited to 50 days on the NBA’s active rosters, Robinson dropped to four days left in the NBA, with the Heat having 23 games left in the regular season. Cain has 22 NBA days left on his two-way deal.
After a player in a bilateral deal reaches his NBA maximum on the active roster, he can continue to play for a G League team’s affiliate or remain with a team for practices. To continue NBA eligibility in such a case, he would have to be transferred to a standard contract in place of one of the 15 already under such guaranteed agreement.
Adebayo at All Star
While Adebayo had his moments during Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, it was mostly a low-key appearance Sunday night in Utah for the Heat’s center.
Chosen by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for the team captained by Antetokounmpo, Adebayo played as the game’s first substitute when Antetokounmpo was substituted 20 seconds into the game on the home court for the Utah Jazz.
Antetokounmpo, who suffered a wrist injury before the All-Star break, drafted Adebayo 11th out of 14 reserves in the All-Star pool, with Antetokounmpo and rival All-Star captain LeBron James selecting their teams shortly before the game .
As for highlights in the game his team won, Adebayo had a moment when he hit the ball off the back of Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Jokic got immediate retribution when he stole the ball from Adebayo on the ensuing possession.
Adebayo’s two baskets came on dunks, with defense, Adebayo’s specialty, sidelined for the duration of the event.
Adebayo played 23 minutes in his team’s 184-175 win, hitting both shots and adding an assist. It was the second All-Star appearance for Kentucky’s 2017 first round pick, this time as the Heat’s sole representative. He appeared alongside Butler in the 2020 game.
Otherwise, Adebayo took a backseat to Team Antetokounmpo teammate Jayson Tatum, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after scoring an All-Star Game record 55 points. Donovan Mitchell scored 40 points for the Adebayo team.
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